Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Lutheran Carnival XLIV

Lutheran Carnival XLIV is up and running at The Rebellious Pastor’s Wife's site. She treats us to a baseball theme with her home run hosting of the Carnival. Stop by, say howdy, and congratulate her for a job well done!

Monday, February 26, 2007

What Church Is Not, Part 3

This is really the last poest on these folks at Epic. From the front page of the Fox News website:

Sexually Suggestive Sermons From Michigan Pastor Leave Some Hot and Bothered

It's a shame when the Lutheran Church Missuiri Synod is linked to people like this. It's worse yet when this has been allowed to go on for a looooong time without someone putting their foot down on heterodoxy.

A tip of the hat to Erik who's been "lurking" on the blog. Thanks Erik, and I'll see ya at the Great Easter Vigil!

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Ash Wednesday!

From dust thou art, and to dust thou shalt return.

Ash Wednesday marks the beginning of Lent for the Church. I'm looking forward to going to church tonight to receive the imposition of ashes. The ashes are supposed to come from the burning of last year's palm crosses. As my pastor or vicar makes the sign of the cross on the forehead he reminds us of our mortality by announcing "From dust thou art and to dust shalt thou return".

For more on this historical Church event, be sure to visit Aardvark Alley as Orycteropus Afer explains it all much better than I ever could in this great post.

Monday, February 19, 2007

What Church Is Not, Part 2

Over the weekend I received a screen shot of Epic Wired Church's sermon series from last fall. Epic, according to my last post, is what church is not! I became aware of Epic sometime in October, when they were having their “how to score” series. I didn’t bother bringing that up in the previous post because I thought that most folks would think I was joking around again. So, thanks to Scott for sending me the screen shot complete with “Scoring with Your Wife, the PG-13 version” So when Jesus said “ “Let the little children come to Me, and do not forbid them; for of such is the kingdom of God.” I’m pretty sure He didn’t mean unless your church preaches something that is inappropriate to the little ragamuffins.

RandomDan busted my chops in the previous post for not knowing about these guys two years ago. He was kind enough to send me a link from a Bunny Diehl discussion of the "star wars" sermon series. Apparently the "pastor" rented a Wookie suit to make the church all the more better. (yes I wrote it that way on purpose) Here's a quote from a member of Epic:

"Sometimes, you've got to be a bit of a nut to get people's attention," said Kazmierczak, as he walked in the Chewbacca suit from his office at Blackhawk Systems to morning rush hour traffic on Mound Round.
If the suit and sign get a few people to think about religion, the effort paid off, he says.
"What says 'I want to win your heart to Jesus' better than a Wookie?" Kazmierczak jokingly asked.
The Chewbacca suit is expected to continue to pop up at various spots in metro Detroit through Sunday. The church rented the suit for a week.
It also plans to have Chewie on hand at the first service of the "Star Wars" sermons this Sunday.
Chewbacca will fit right in at Epic, Kade says. "We kind of have a casual dress code."

But I told Dan that “There are things we just don’t seek out. You can’t just go out and look for… evil.“ That’s right; I didn’t go out and try to find evil, it, as it usually does, found me. I’d like to add a quote from that big blue bug of justice: the Tick, which just seems appropriate:

"Yes, evil comes in many forms, whether it be a man-eating cow or Joseph Stalin, but you can't let the package hide the pudding! Evil is just plain bad! You don't cotton to it. You gotta smack it in the nose with the rolled-up newspaper of goodness! Bad dog! Bad dog!"

Friday, February 16, 2007

What Church Is Not

What is church? That seems like an easy question doesn’t it? Church as Lutheran’s define it is the place where we go that God’s Word is purely taught, and the Sacraments are rightly administered. Church is the place where we go to receive God’s gifts of grace. This extraordinary task is accomplished through what seem like ordinary means. It is God, through divine means, serving the faithful (yes, it's God doing all the doing). At Church we hear God’s law that we can not even start to keep because we are poor sinful creatures. At Church we hear that Christ has kept the Law perfectly for us in our stead. At Church we hear God’s Word proclaim that Christ has not only kept the law perfectly, but has taken our deserved punishment in our stead. In Church, it’s all about what God has done and continues to do for us. That’s, in a nutshell, what Church is.

What church is not is a place that we go to get therapy. What church is not is this place. Heterodoxy is enough to make me scream!

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

The More Things Change...

My wife and I came across this delightful little treat during our evening devotional after supper.

I am amazed that you have so quickly turned away from that to which you were called through the grace of Christ to another gospel. Galatians 1:6

There you see St. Paul complain how they stumbled and fell from faith so quickly and easily. Therefore he warns and exhorts the Christians here and in other places and says, “Let he that stands be careful that he doesn’t fall.” We also daily encounter what crude and miserable things happen when a human heart wants to grasp and retain faith, or how troublesome it is when one prepares a militant nation for the Lord. If one even had ten whole years with doctrine, exhortation and discipline, he would have his hands full to bring forth a church or congregation in a single place that would run in an orderly and Christian manner. If he finally did pull it off after a great effort, then, afterwards, some unholy fanatic would sneak in, a great course ass who has only the skill to contradict and blaspheme the true preachers, overturning the congregation again. Whose heart would not ache over such a tragedy?
Now by God’s grace we have accomplished. Here in Wittenberg [the church runs] in the manner and form of a true church or Christian congregation, for one preaches the pure gospel and God’s Word, so one uses the Sacrament rightly, one exhorts and prays for all stations in life, etc. In summary, God be praised, it goes well and fine as it should. Yet it is sure that if the profane fanatics could come, those who presently act according to their own traditions, they would ruin it at once and (so to speak) subvert and throw what we have been able to establish in so many years with such great effort into a junk heap, in the twinkling of an eye.
This was encountered by St. Paul, the chosen instrument of God. He had established the congregations in Galatia with great care and work. The false apostles came after he left. In a short time they overturned everything, as this battling epistle, along with the others, also give abundant witness. This, our life on earth, is a totally poor, miserable, weak, uncertain, tenuous thing. So Satan has arranged things everywhere for us, and everywhere he has laid so many trip wires for us that whenever we turn around, a single fanatic overthrows and ruinously tramples what good right and true servants of Christ have produced over a long period of time with great labor day and night. That is what we must (unfortunately) experience at this time with trouble and great heartache. We hold it inside and are unable to help or counsel in such miserable trouble.
For this reason also, since Christianity is such a fragile and tender thing, which is why this happens so quickly and painfully, one must always have a good ready eye out for such fanatics and sectarian spirits. They are so sneaky that they think that when they have heard a sermon or two, or read a pamphlet or two, then they are already accomplished masters over all masters and disciples, even if no one has ordained, called, or sent them. Some uneducated laborers can also be so stupidly bold, and they appraise and understand this great, high, difficult, and dangerous office [the Office of the Holy Ministry] so lightly, that they disregard it even though their whole lives long they [the fanatics] were never in a true trial before God’s wrath and judgment, nor healthy and earnestly terrified, much less had they tasted God’s grace.
But since they are only godless windbags, they teach according to their own opinions what pleases themselves and what the people want to hear. Since the people gladly hear only what is strange and new, such new tricks also please them well and he gathers a swarm in the hive. While they dream that they correctly have the teachings of the Father, and are even practiced in a few afflictions and trials, in this they are drawn and misled by crazy fanatical spirits.

Altb. VI, 547-548 Commentary on Galatians, 1535, cf. AE 26 & 27

Saint Paul wrote his epistle almost 2000 years ago. Dr. Luther commented on St. Paul's epistle almost 500 years ago. And here we are today, in the exact same miserable condition.

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Email Request

I just got an email from Tishale who wrote; "We need more stuff to read." Yes, Tishale, I know it seems that I've been slacking off. But my computer had a hard crash two weeks ago and the majority of my time has been getting all my work "stuff" back up and running. It seems Windows lost some of it's protocols and wouldn't boot up at all. It's strange, this kind of thing never seems to happen to that "other" operating software I run at home. Hmm. Fortunately, most of my stuff was backed up and I expect to get caught up by the middle of next week.
As soon as I'm caught back up I'll start posting more. Is there any topic in particular you want me to address?